Disney's OTT Service Wants To Make Splash - With Less Money

Disney has muscle behind its new branded direct-to-consumer app: But can it fight well for its weight?

Barclays equity research estimates the combination of Disney's and Fox's library product -- TV and movies -- will total 4,000 titles. And that is more than Netflix -- once all existing licensing deals expire. It says this even without getting content from other sources.

But that is only one factor. What about original programming?

Netflix is estimated to be rapidly approaching about 50% of its programming hours currently coming from original content. Netflix production spending is comparable to the traditional movie/TV studios -- estimated by some analysts to be around $13 billion this year. (The company had said it would spend $8 billion this year.)

And this is the stuff -- Netflix’s original content -- that gets all the promotional value when the big SVOD (subscription video on demand service) does its marketing. These days, you would be hard pressed to find stories about Netflix talking library deals it makes with CBS, Warner Bros. and many others -- including Walt Disney.



Kannan Venkateshwar, media analyst of Barclays, notes Disney’s new OTT platform “arguably would have better quality than Netflix."

Netflix has also quality stuff. It can point to many Emmy and Golden Globe nominations. For its part, Disney might also be touting some additional positives in this regard -- especially adding its FX Networks to TV business ranks. The Fox TV network group pulled in 244 Emmys in five years.

FX's edgier content -- especially with its “American Horror Story” and others programs -- is a good complement to Disney’s more family/kids-oriented content. That edgy content won’t be alone; Disney’s Marvel Studios films would match up with it well.

There is more straight-ahead movie content coming Disney’s way, looking at all its movie franchises, such as “Star Wars,” “Avatar” and “Titanic.”

Venkateshwar also notes from a global point of view -- marketing would be somewhat of an easier job for Disney, an entertainment name known worldwide.

Will there be some surprises? It doesn’t need to spend as much as Netflix -- at least for original content, according to Bob Iger, chairman-CEO, Walt Disney. He says the service won’t be of that same “volume” as Netflix.

Thus, we might have a better idea of what’s to come from Disney’s DTC business: It will be muscled, but lean.

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